"A double pleasure is waiting for you…"

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2007 by bigruta
It’s the weekend! Yes! You hook up with all your friends and go out looking for fun! Only one problem, none of you have much dough. What do you do? You head on out to the local second-run theater or drive-in and catch a double feature! Yessiree! At least three hours of entertainment for only a couple of bucks. Plus, being the devious sort you are you manage to sneak some beer in to up the fun level. So sit right back and enjoy another Duh Spot double feature review!

The Hideous Sun Demon

Columbia, 1959, 74 minutes, NR

actors: Robert Clarke, Patricia Manning, Nan Peterson, Fred LaPorta

director, producer, writer: Robert Clarke, co-director: Tom Boutross

Taxonomy: Sci-Fi; mutant dude flick; serious schlock lovers

Plot: Mild mannered drunk babe hound atomic scientist by night, crazed devolved mutant lizard thing by day!

Well! It seems that conditions at “Atomic Experiments Inc.” (I kid you not!) are not all that safe. Dr. Gilbert McKenna (Clarke) gets blasted with mucho radiation and is sent to the hospital. Doctors then find nothing wrong with him. But, when a cute blond nurse, that Gil hits on, takes him up to the roof to get some fresh air … Zap! … The sun starts to turn him into some weird freak, some terrible monster, some … hideous sun demon! The docs get him back inside and the effects fade. They conclude that the radiation has triggered some sort of developmental genetic dohicky thingamabob that devolves Gil when he is exposed to sunlight. One doctor shows a picture of a tarantula and says it used to be a grasshopper before it underwent radiation experimentation. Oooooookay! The docs think Gil’s condition can be reversed, but he will have to stay at the hospital while they study him. Gil says, “No” and goes home.

Gil lives by night. He sleeps during the day in a house with the windows hung with those old black blinds we used to have in school. He is so alone! His friends worry about him, especially Ann Russell (Manning) one of Gil’s coworkers. She likes Gil. And that’s all there is to say about Ann; she likes Gil and worries about him. Let’s move on. Gil deals with his loneliness by cruising around in his convertible and going to bars. In one elegant place he meets Trudy Osbourne (Peterson). Trudy plays an organ and sings at a little dive bar with a bumper pool table. Trudy cannot sing and it is oh so obvious that she is not playing the organ she is sitting at – her hand movements do not even come close to being convincing, but she has big tits! Trudy is also rather dim and easy. Gil likes what he sees! After beating up Trudy’s boyfriend George, Gil takes her out for a drive. Wouldn’t you know that old smoothy Gil has a bottle in the glove compartment! They end up at the beach where Gil shows an almost complete lack of skill at making a campfire. This guy is a scientist? Anyway after more drinks and some goofy flirtations Gil and Trudy do the nasty! Gil wakes up early the next morning and splits cause the sun is coming up. Trudy wakes to find herself alone with no transportation home.

Gil makes it home but has turned into THSD by now and procedes to catch, kill and eat a rat. That sounds gross, but the scene is hilarious! When Gil picks up the rat two things become painfully obvious: 1. the rat is a toy, and 2. he is holding a sponge in his other hand. Gil brings both his hands together to crush the rat and we see all the ‘blood’ go squirt! Wow! Too funny!
Gil goes into his basement and eventually turns back into his old wonderful self.

Ann gets a radiation expert to tend to Gil. Dr. Jacob Hoffman (LaPorta) tells Gil he cannot leave his home. Any exposure to the sun will trigger the change into THSD. Next time, he might not be able to change back! Dr. Hoffman also tells Gil to lay off the booze. Gil is depressed. He dreams of big titted Trudy while he sleeps during the day in his twin bed! Eventually Gil can’t take the isolation any more and goes to the bar to see the slut – I mean Trudy. Trudy is still angry at Gil for stranding her on the beach. In fact she is so mad she has three goons beat Gil up. She then feels sorry for him and takes him to her apartment. Dames! Well, George shows up and he has a gun! He makes Gil go out back into the alley, but it is dawn and Gil turns into THSD and kills George while Trudy hangs her tits out the window and screams!

Gil runs away and scares some kids and kills a toy collie. That is to say he mangles up a stuffed toy dog, not the small version of a collie. He goes home, but the cops show up and he kills one. He finds a shed and hides. Once out of the sun, he changes back into Gil. A little girl, Suzy, finds Gil in the shed and brings him some cookies. Suzy’s mother told her to stay in the house, but Suzy is a naughty girl – just the kind Gil likes! The cops get too close and Gil makes a break for it! He carries Suzy outside (human shield?) and drops her when he again changes into THSD! Well another cop gets killed before the big climax on top of a refinery tank. A cop who’s has managed to clear his jammed gun (long story) draws a bead on THSD and shoots! THSD/Gil falls off the tank and dies. The End.

Goodies:

Babeage: Patricia Manning and Nan Peterson are okay, I guess, but I would not call them babes.

Sleazeploitation: Gil is a drunk and a womanizer, definitely not the typical clean cut scientist type usually seen in 50s sci-fi flicks.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Gil as himself and as THSD!

Violence: A couple of fist fights and a couple of squished toy animals.

Gore & FX: THSD costume is not all that great but the squished rat scene is art I tell you!

Great Lines:

Doctor, “This guy’s been soaked in radiation!”

Gil’s boss tells him, “Whiskey and soda mix, not whiskey and science!”

Old woman at hospital who is the first to see THDS, “Oh! That face!”

Gil reflecting on his fate, “Darwin never even scratched the surface! How could he?”

Trudy to Gil as they drive to the beach, “You’re a strange man.” Oh honey, you have no idea!

Gil to Dr. Hoffman, “I’ll do anything to get well! Anything!” Sorry son, I don’t swing that way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Gil, “WHY! Please tell me why!” ACTING!

Moral: Always use sun block.

Conclusion:

The Hideous Sun Demon is a riot of a flick! It has so many so-bad-it’s-good moments that any bad movie fan will get a big kick out of it. For others, it will seem like a very long 74 minutes. Just for fun, I though I would mention that this movie was remade in 1977 as The Incredible Melting Man and in 1983 a new soundtrack was dubbed onto the flick to make a parody called What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon? One of the voice actors on the parody was Jay Leno.

This is me at age nine baby!: Jeez! The monster hardly does anything! And why are there all these girls and crying?

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

Hammer Studios / Shaw Bros., 1974, 89 minutes, NR

actors: Peter Cushing, Robin Stewart, Julie Ege, David Chiang, Shen Chen, Szu Shih, John Forbes-Robertson

directors: Roy Ward Baker, Cheh Chang
writer: Don Houghton
producers: Don Houghton, Vee King Shaw
executive producers: Run Me Shaw, Run Run Shaw

Taxonomy: Horror-Fu; East meets West chop-saki horror flick, Hammer / Fu freaks

Plot: Dracula is up to his old tricks and Van Helsing must deliver a smack down – again.

The Hook: This time old Drac has a craving for Chinese.

By the mid-70s the English horror studio Hammer was on it’s last legs and kung-fu flicks were on the rise. This led to an odd collaboration between Hammer and the Hong Kong based Shaw Brothers to produce a gothic horror/kung-fu hybrid flick. Our story starts out in 1804 with the evil priest Kah (Shen Chen) reaching Castle Dracula in Transylvania. Kah asks Count Dracula for help. You see, Kah has wielded unmatched power over the countryside near the village of Ping Kuei for many years. He controls the seven golden vampires and an army of their undead victims. But recently a villager manages to destroy one of the vampires and the others will no longer rise to Kah’s command. Kah asks Dracula to come to China and help him regain power. Drac tells Kah that he does not grant favors, but a change of scenery would be nice and an army might be useful, so he takes on the likeness of Kah, destroying him in the process, and heads for China.

Jump to 1904 Chung King. Professor Van Helsing (Cushing) is lecturing at Chung King University. He wants the esteemed Chinese scholars to help him learn about local vampire lore. The Chinese faculty are insulted that he would think they are so unsophisticated as to believe in vampires and walk out. Only one young man Hsi Ching (David Chiang) stays to ponder Van Helsing. We soon learn that Hsi Ching and his six brothers and one sister have pledged themselves to rid Ping Kuei of the Golden Vampires. Seven vampires (well really six now) verses seven kung-fu master brothers (and one sister). Check.

Meanwhile, Van Helsing’s wimpy son Leyland (Stewart) meets the lovely Scandinavian heiress and adventurer Vanessa Buren, played by the gorgeous Julie Ege. Seems Vanessa is an admirer of Prof. Van Helsing and would like to meet him. The local Tong leader likes the hot blond and asks to walk her home. She refuses and lets Leyland escort her. On the way to her rooms, Vanessa and Leyland are attacked by several Tong thugs who kill their escorts and it seems they will harm the white folk when two young Chinese men, one armed with a bow and another wielding twin battle axes appear and slice and dice the thugs. These warriors then take Vanessa and Leyland to Prof. Van Helsing’s digs. Hsi Ching explains that they are two of his brothers. Seems that the Van Helsings have been under the brothers protection from the moment they entered Chung King. Hsi Ching convinces Van Helsing to journey to Ping Kuei and help them destroy the golden vampires. Leyland insists on accompanying his father and Vanessa agrees to flip the bill for the expedition provided she is an active member.

So begins the journey to Ping Kuei. During this rather long trek we see: 1. the fighting skill of the Hsi brothers and sister as they fight off Tong goons, vampires and undead; 2. the vampires raiding Ping Kuei for girls (lots of titties on display) and 3. the developing romance between Vanessa and Hsi Ching and Leyland and the sister Mai Kwei (Szu Shih). Okay. now we need to stop and think a moment. We have 8 Chinese heroes and 3 European heroes. We have two interracial romances brewing. Okay, so this being a Hammer horror / Shaw Bros. kung-fu flick we can make some predictions. At least one Chinese and one European hero will die and at least one of these will be a woman. At this point my money would be on Mei Kwei to become a victim of a vampire. This would fulfill the required tragic love story so beloved of Chinese film makers and would force one of her brothers to destroy her. Which European will die? Well, we know it will not be Prof. Van Helsing, he has to deal with Drac. Vanessa seems the obvious choice, hot blond spells vampire bait, but that seems too easy. I’ll say Leyland. This would again be another tragic loss for Van Helsing, but give him even more reason to destroy the evil vampires. Frankly, Leyland is such a whiner I would not mind seeing him bite it. Vampire movie, bite it! Oh hahahahaha! I slay me!

Okay, this review is getting too long, so let’s cut to the chase. Once our heroes have fortified Ping Kuei, the remaining three golden vampires (they destroyed three of them on the trip) and the undead attack. Our heroes bolt the village gate and make a flaming trench (these Chinese vamps and undead are quite flammable) and defensive bamboo stake hedges. The vampires used a bit of magic to blow down the gate and the fun begins! Lots of nice kung-fu fighting sequences (Chinese vampires like to use swords) and even old Prof. Van Helsing gets a few good licks in. Several of the brothers die. And then there is Vanessa. She just stands there. She has no weapon. A fairly tall blond woman, dressed in white with no weapon in the middle of a battle between good guys and vampires. Sigh. Well, as you can already tell, she is going to get chomped. And she does, to her credit she does try to defend herself with a bamboo spear, but that is too little too late. Vanessa gets bit but good. Van Helsing sees it happen, but can’t do anything about it. The vampire runs off after infecting her and is killed by about a dozen pissed off villagers. Hsi Ching comes to see if Vanessa is okay and, of course, she attacks him. Van Helsing yells, “Ching! You must destroy her!” Hsi Ching impales Vanessa on one of the defensive bamboo stakes and then kills himself too. Cause he just can’t live without her! Hey so much for that whole ‘we have pledged our lives to rid the village of the vampires’ thing!

Well! Mai Kwei gets knocked unconscious and the last remaining vampire takes her to the temple where the vampires have their base. Leyland rides off to her rescue. Van Helsing and the two surviving brothers show up just as Leyland is about to be killed by the vampire. Van Helsing grabs one of the brother’s spear and destroys the last golden vampire. As the rest leave, Van Helsing has a bad feeling about the place and is confronted by Dracula. After a brief fight, Van Helsing destroys Dracula (again) using the same spear he used to dispatch the last golden vampire. The End.

Goodies:

Babeage: Szu Shih is cute and she was in a ton of Shaw Bros. kung-fu flicks, but she can’t hold a candle to Julie Ege. Julie Ege was Miss Norway and appeared in a few movies before resuming a normal life. I read on the net that today she is a nurse in her home country of Norway. There is no doubt about it though, Julie Ege was a babe. Blond, buxom, blue (or maybe hazel) eyes and a fantastic Nordski accent. Yum!

Sleazeploitation: Hammer always like to have at least one babe in their movies and Julie Ege fills that bill. The Shaw Bros. never shied away from sleaziness and to that end we have several scenes of topless Chinese cuties being abducted and chained down in the vampire temple before being drained. Plus I would bet that some folks would get bent out of shape by the dual interracial romance stories. Lighten up will ya!

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: The golden vampires (by the way, they are called that because they wear gold masks and gold bat medallions) look like walking oatmeal. The undead are just folks in dirty torn clothes and masks who have an odd little jog like walk. Dracula just looks goofy. John Forbes-Robertson wears so much make-up he looks like a vampire clown – Christofer Lee he is not.

Violence: Kung-fu, sword-fu, spear-fu, axe-fu, bow-fu, knife-fu, mace-fu, flaming brand-fu, neck sucking-fu, fire-fu. One great scene has Hsi Ching destroy a vampire by smashing his fist through it’s chest! As you might expect there is a bit of blood.

Gore & FX: Not much really. The costumes are okay (Van Helsing wears a pith helmet), the vampire and undead make-up could have been better. The scenes where the destroyed vampires turn to dust were obviously done using rubber masks and air bladders. One hand gets chopped off. Nice bright red blood.

Great Lines:

Dracula to Kah, “Wretch! I do not grant favors! I do not accede to the requests of minions! Know you not Dracula commands even from the confines of this miserable place!?” You’re fired!

The British Consul remarking about Vanessa traveling the world alone, “Can’t say as I approve! Dash it all, they’ll want the vote next!”

Upon finding the remains of one of the golden vampires outside Ping Kuei, Van Helsing says, “The legend is true!” No shit? You have already fought off three of the goofy things by now!

Dracula, “Van Helsing! Across the globe, even to this very place you plague me!”

Van Helsing, “Show yourself! Or must you hide behind the image of another man? Is the mighty Dracula too frightened to reveal his face to me?” Yeah, the Profs got big uns!

Dracula, “I am Dracula! Lord of darkness, master of vampires, prince of the undead, ruler of the damned!” Think Drac’s boss might not like him padding his resume like that?

Moral: Before arranging that first date – check her teeth.

Conclusion:

Okay, lets face it, a kung-fu vampire flick can only be so good. I did not expect much of this flick, but it surprised me. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is better than I though it would be. The horror aspect is done well, with some cheap effects, and the asian spin is kind of interesting. The kung-fu is well done and choreographed – no one obviously misses their punches – even the non-kung-fu actors like Cushing and Stewart. The flick is a bit slow, but all Hammer films have that pace. Throw in a bit of sleaze and a hot blond and all-in all you have an entertaining little b-movie. Great? No. Fun? Oh yeah! I’m still kind of annoyed that Vanessa died but Leyland the dink survived.

This is me at age nine baby!: Those vampires look stupid! You have a pistol – shoot them! If the vampires go poof when you yank off their medallions, why aren’t they trying to do that! Duh!

Double Feature Checklist:

aradiation can do anything
afake bats on strings
alab coats worn in the outdoors
ared red blood
atons of booze and cigs
aone martial artist kills several opponents easily
atoy animals
apith helmet
ablond babes

Is it chili in here or is it just me?

Original Cave Creek Chili Beer

Black Mountain Brewing Company, Cold Spring, MN and Cave Creek, AZ

There are several brands of chili beer sold in the US. What is chili beer? Beer with a chili pepper in the bottle, Einstein. I decided to have a novelty beer to go with a novelty movie. Original Cave Creek Chili beer comes complete with a serrano chili in the bottle – and a warning on the label not to choke on the chili!

ABV: 4.20% IBU: low

Color: A very light amber, almost, but not quite yellow.

Aroma: A slight hint of lager hop tang that is quickly replaced by the scent of the pepper.

Head: Large bubbled white head that is gone within seconds.

Taste: At first I could detect a bit of a hop tang, but then the pepper flavor took over and that was all I could taste from that moment on. Just pepper, no beer taste after that first sip. Slight pepper aftertaste.

Recommendation: My father and I have different opinions about peppers. He loves them any day any way. I prefer hot chili peppers to be cooked into something so that the capsaicin gets mellowed out a bit and I can taste more than just fire. My dad is content to dump hot sauce on his food and just enjoy the burn. That is the attitude required to enjoy Original Cave Creek Chili Beer. You need to just be there for the raw chili heat. Don’t expect to taste the beer, you won’t. That is why I cannot recommend this beer. What is the point? If I want to taste raw chilis, I will eat raw chilis. If I want to wash them down with beer, I will get a good sharp hoppy Pilsner or IPA and drink it while eating the raw chilis. That way I will be able to taste the chilis and the beer. Walk away. Nothing to see here.

Well, there ya go! The second Duh Spot double feature. Fun, eh? Catch ya next time and remember – watch fun movies and drink good beer.

-BigRuta

Questions, comments, requests and contributions welcome!

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"Faith? Well faith is an island in the setting sun…"

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2007 by bigruta
Howdy friends and neighbors! BigRuta here with some sweet silly 50s sci-fi goodness for ya tonight. But first, you may notice that the review format has changed a little, so here is a quick rundown. First the Taxonomy section has been revamped. It now consists of three subsections: genre; specific type of flick; ideal audience. The ideal audience is my guess at who would most enjoy the movie, but everyone could still have fun. Second, I have brought back the idea of “The Hook,” which is now included in The Plot section. I dumped “Bluntly,” I never really liked it. Finally, I added a section at the end of the review called, “This is me at age nine baby!” This is where I will try to recall what I would have thought of the movie when I was little. It really reflects my opinion at about six years old, but I wanted to use the song reference. The other additions are self explanitory. And now the movie folks! …

This Island Earth

Universal International, 1955, 86 minutes, NR

actors: Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason, Lance Fuller, Russel L. Johnson, Robert Nicholes

director: Joseph Newman

writers: Franklin Coen and Edward G. O’Callaghan; based on the novel by Raymond F. Jones

producer: William Alland

Taxonomy: Sci-Fi; alien invasion flick; space opera fans

Plot: A mysterious organization is recruting the worlds best atomic scientists to put an end to war. The Hook: They’re aliens!

Electronics expert, atomic scientist and pilot Dr. Cal Meacham (Reason) gets some new toys delivered to his California lab. He and his colleague Joe Wilson (Nicholes) use the included plans to build what turns out to be a very sophisticated comminication device. And bingo! They get a video message from a guy with white hair and a big head who calls himself Exeter (Morrow). Exeter tells Meacham that he has passed a test and is needed on Exeter’s team. A plane will arrive to pick him up the next morning. Then the device zaps the plans with a laser and self destructs. Dr. Meacham is intriqued and, over the objections of Joe, boards the crewless plane and flies away to…

Georgia! Where he is met at the airfield by Dr. Ruth Adams (Domergue). Meacham insists they have met, but Adams says he is mistaken. Dr. Adams takes takes Dr. Meacham to “The Club” where he meets Exeter who simply says that he is working to put an end to war. Dr. Meacham also meets the other scientists in attendence including Dr. Steve Carlson (Johnson). Meacham is suspecious about the whole set-up and Adams and Carlson soon confide in him that they are playing dumb. Adams has met Meacham before. Adams and Carlson tell Meacham that Exeter has a device that can control peoples thoughts! They also point out how big Exeter’s head is and that “The Club” also seems to include a large secret underground facility. Exeter spies on the three scientists and asks Meacham to trust him. Exeter’s assistant Brack (Fuller) wants to use the “thought transformer” on the trouble makers, but Exeter says that would be counterproductive.

Well, Exeter’s boss thinks he has been doing a crappy job and orders Exeter to come home and destroy all evidence of his work. So, as Drs. Meacham, Adams and Carlson try to drive to the airfield, Brack tries to kill them with neutrino rays! Meacham and Adams bail out of the car and end up in a lake, but poor Dr. Carlson gets zapped and blows up real good in a technicolor explosion. Dr. Meacham and Dr. Adams – oh hell, Cal and Ruth – hoof it cross country to the airfield. Their clothes and hair dry almost immediately, naturally. They find a small plane and Cal flies them away from Exeter and his “Club.” This is surprising because Cal already knows first hand that Exeter can control aircraft from afar.

Meanwhile, a big old flying saucer takes off from “The Club” and intercepts Cal and Ruth. “The Club” then blows up real good in a technicolor explosion, killing all the other scientists left behind. Exeter knows he has done wrong, but tells Cal and Ruth that they will soon see why such extreme measures were necessary. You see, Exeter is from another planet. Duh! Didn’t they see his huge head! That is a sure sign of an alien, especially in a 50s b-movie!

Turns out that Exeter and his folk are from a planet called Metaluna. Yes, a little Latin is a dangerous thing. Not to mention Greek. Anyway, Metaluna has a much higher atmosphereic pressure than Earth, so the crew must go through pressure conversion in big glass tubes. Cal and Ruth get some Metalunan duds, that do great things for Ruth’s ass by the way, and go through the conversion. When they come out of the tubes, they are near Metaluna.

Exeter explaines that Metaluna has been at war with the planet Zegon for many years. Zegon ships bomb Metaluna with meteors. The Metalunans (sounds better than Metalunies) moved their civilization underground and have an defensive ionic shield. This shield requires huge amounts of power. Ah ha! The Metalunans went to Earth in an attempt to help replenish their power supply. Once they land, they all go to see the leader of the Metalunans, who tells them that they suck and orders Exeter to transform Cal and Ruth’s thoughts. He also mentions that the Metalunans are going to procede with their alternative plan – the invasion of Earth. Exeter Cal and Ruth are then imperiously dismissed. It seems that the Zegons have launched an all out attack and Fearless Leader has little time for inferiors.

On the way to the thought transformer they meet a Metalunan Mutant. This is a way cool critter that the Metalunans developed from insects. The Mutants act as labor and guards. The bombardment gets quite bad and Exeter, Cal and Ruth decide to escape. As they make their way back to the flying saucer, Ruth plays against the typical 50s helpless female role she had adhered to so far and drives the alien car while the guys cower at the destruction. They make it to the flying saucer and get away, zapping a Zegon ship that gets too close. Metaluna is toast. The bombardment creates so much heat, it actually turns Metaluna into a small star! Could this really happen? No, but it is a cool effect.

During the trip back to Earth, a Mutant attacks while they are all in the pressure conversion tubes. Ruth screams real good. Faith Domergue had some pipes! Ruth’s conversion ends first and the Mutant chases her around for a while until the low pressure now in the control room makes it go poof!

Once back on Earth, Cal and Ruth try to convince Exeter to come with them, but he refuses. Cal and Ruth cuddle as they fly home and the flying saucer, now with little power left, crashes into the sea. The End.

Goodies:

Babeage: Faith Domergue! Yowza! This Howard Hughes discovery was quite the looker. Rumor has it that the pants of her Metaluna outfit were so tight that she could not wear undies!

Sleazeploitation: Nah.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Exeter and the other Metalunans and the great Metalunan Mutant! This creature, like Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet has become a sci-fi icon. The publicity pic of Faith Domergue, in her tight pants, being carried by the Metalunan Mutant is one of the most famous sci-fi images of the 50s. In fact, I’ll bet that many of you have seen this pic before even if you have not seen the film.

Violence: Neutrino rays, meteor impacts, a couple of fight scenes. Tame by today’s standards.

Gore & FX: The FX range from silly (the Metalunan’s make-up) to breathtaking (the alien landscapes and the Metalunan Mutant). There is a funny scene on board the flying saucer when the camera pans past the viewscreen and we see the stars outside the ship move opposite to the direction of the camera!

Hey! That’s what’s his name!: Russel L. Johnson is most famous for playing the part of Dr. Roy Hinkley, better know simply as “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island.

50s Sci-Fi B-Movie Checklist:

a aliens played by humans with big heads
a spaceship either a rocket or flying saucer
a helpless female character who screams often
a Earth and other planets depicted without clouds
a use of the word “atomic” as opposed to “nuclear”
a scientists who seem very socially sophisticated and or rich
a flames in space
a sound in space
a stock footage
a cute animal or kid
a Woody

Great Lines:

Dr. Cal Meacham to the press, “You boys like to call this the push button age. Well, it isn’t, not yet. Not until we can team up atomic energy and electronics. Then we’ll have the horses as well as the cart!”

Joe Wilson describing the communicator, “Ya know what my kids would say? ‘Dig this crazy mixed up plumbing!'” Somehow, I doubt even 50s kids would say that!

Dr. Ruth Adams referring to a cat, “It’s only Neutron. We call him that because he is so positive!” Uh … no. Neutrons are neutral, electrons are negative and protons are positive.

Exeter, “I suppose the neutrino could be described as the missing link between energy and matter.” Yeah, neutrinos could be described that way – by a dumbass!

Exeter, “Ruth, don’t tell me as a woman you’re not curious about our destination?” Yeah, she’s curious because she is a woman, not because she is a scientist. Even the aliens were sexist in the 50s!

Exeter, “Metaluna lies far beyond your solar system – in outer space.” Well duh!!

Dr. Cal Meacham referring to being in the pressure conversion tube, “I feel like a brand new toothbrush!” What!?

Dr. Cal Meacham mouthing off to Fearless Leader, “Our true size is the size of our God!” Very scientific Doc.

Dr. Ruth Adams while being led to the tought transformer, “My mind is my own and nobody is going to change it! I’m not going into that room!” Emotional, ain’t she?

Exeter on the fate of Metaluna, “Yes, a sun! Warming the surface of some other world. Giving light to those who may need it.” Sounds like Exeter may have had a hit of thought transformation himself!

Moral: Turn off those lights when you leave the room! Do I look like I’m made of electricity?

Conclusion: This Island Earth is an odd combination of big ideas and silly execution. Which I guess could describe many sci-fi films. The concept of an alien civilization looking to man for help with an energy shortage was quite novel in the 50s. The fact that the Metalunans are caught up in a war without end that they are losing to a seemingly technologically inferior species is a neat idea too. Usually aliens are depicted as snobbish technocrats or monsters. So, well done in the big picture department. However, the lack of scientific soundness is aggrivating – even for a 50s sci-fi flick. Faith Domergue, bless her heart, is okay, but Rex Reason is horrible! His voice sounds fake, almosy like a cartoon character, say Space Ghost or Oxnard Montalvo. There is no kind way to say this, the man can’t act! Still this is a fun movie you should check out. Great for a rainy or snowy Sunday afternoon. The Metalunan Mutant kicks ass!

This is me at age nine baby!: An F-80 Shooting Star! Cool! What’s with that guy’s voice? Ha, ha! Look at that old car! Flying saucer with lasers! Cool! Underground city getting bombed with meteors! What a cool monster! I got to tell the guys at school about this one!

You Ain’t Nothin’ But A …

Heller Hound Anti-Spring Bock Beer

Flying Dog Brewery, LLC, Denver, Colorado

Okay, now remember that bock beer is a flavorful beer that is often high in alcohol and brewed in the winter to keep thorough till spring? Good. Bock is also brewed during festivals and special occasions, which led to bock being brewed all year round. Maibock is traditionaly brewed in May, for example. So what is an anit-spring bock beer? As far as I can tell, it’s simply an amusing name.

ABV: 6.20% IBU: 22

Color: A slightly cloudy light amber, kind of like natural non-filtered apple juice.

Aroma: Lots of sweet malt with just a hint of hop tang.

Head: Small bubbled, foamy, persistent, off-white head.

Taste: Slightly sweet malt start, moves to a smooth sweet middle with perhaps a hint of apple which turns to a slightly bitter hoppy finish. Just a slight hop aftertaste.

Recommendation: Flying Dog makes some good beer with great names and labels. Heller Hound is a mild Maibock perfect for people who like beer on the sweet side but do not mind some hop bitterness. Recommended.

Okey dokey friends and neighbors. Till next time remember, life is too short to drink crappy beer!

-BigRuta

Comments, questions, requests and contributions welcome.

"’Bominables bounce!"

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2007 by bigruta
Hi ya folks! Big Ruta here with another boffo socko review for ya! Tonight’s flick is another one that I mentioned in a past review, and the first sequel to be reviewed here at The Duh Spot! Okay, so much for the preamble, tonight’s flick is…

Dr. Phibes Rises Again!

EMI-MGM via AIP, 1972, 89 minutes, PG

actors: Vincent Price, Caroline Munro, Robert Quarry, Peter Jeffrey, John Cater, Peter Cushing and Valli Kemp

director: Robert Fuest

writers: Robert Fuest and Robert Bless

Taxonomy: Campy Brit horror / dark comedy flick.

Plot: A revived Dr. Phibes journeys to Egypt in order find eternal life for himself and his dead wife.

Bluntly: Fun 70s silliness; if you dug the first flick, you’ll get a kick out of this sequel.

Overview:

I reviewed The Abominable Dr. Phibes nearly two years ago. Guess I can’t put off the sequel any longer. In order to make this post shorter, I will not recap the first film. If you need a refresher, you can find it here.

As the flick starts, the moon has come around to the right point in the sky to activate the resuscitation mechanism in Dr. Phibe’s tomb. We learn that it is three years since the events of The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Hmm…maybe I should have put this review off for another year? Anyway, Phibes (Price) comes back to life and summons his faithful assistant Vulnavia (Kemp). This may come as a bit of a surprise since Vulnavia seemed to die at the end of the first flick. Well what the hay, if Phibes can rise again so can Vulnavia. Immediately Phibes tells Vulnavia that it is close to the time for “The River of Life” to be revealed again in Egypt. Apparently this happens every 2000 years. They must get the body of Phibes’ beloved wife Victoria to Phibes’ secret Egyptian lair. Yep, he has a place all set up for this! Preparation is everything. But first, they need to get the ancient papyrus map that is in Phibes’ safe. So, Phibes fires up his organ (you remember his organ / elevator right?) and they go upstairs – only to find that the house has been demolished! Phibes finds the safe, but it is empty. Phibes knows exactly who would want to steal his map. The only other man interested in “The River of Life”, Darius Biederbeck (Quarry). So, why not keep the map in the tomb? So much for preparation!

Next we meet Darius Biederbeck and his friend Ambrose. Ambrose is a portly good natured archaeologist and Biederbeck is a rich prick. Then we get to meet whinny spoiled rich bitch Diana, the love of Biederbeck’s life. Biederbeck, Ambrose and Diana go to a party and while they are gone, the butler drinks and shoots some snooker. Time for the first kill! Several clockwork pythons invade the billiard room. Yes, clockwork pythons – this is the work of Dr. Phibes remember. One of the pythons bites the butler who goes to the phone for help, Vulnavia pushes a plunger and a gold spike in the shape of a snake comes out of the phone earpiece and zips straight through the butler’s head. Yeah baby! Phibes then retrieves his map.

And now for the return of the wonderful Inspector Trout (Jeffrey). Trout interviews Biederbeck about the murder of his butler. Biederbeck does not care about the man, just the map. He also demands that the police find his property before he leaves for Egypt in 24 hours! Told you he was a prick.

Now the action moves on board a luxury liner headed for Egypt with both Phibes and Biederbeck as passengers. Biederbeck’s friend Ambrose finds Victoria’s body among the cargo, so we know what is going to happen to him! Amazingly, Phibes simply strangles Ambrose! What? Where is the flare in that? Well, he then sticks Ambrose’s body into a giant gin bottle (from an ad display) and tosses him overboard! The bottle washes up on shore right in front of Insp. Trout’s eyes. Biederbeck gets pissy with the ship’s Captain (Cushing in a cute bit part) because of the intolerable 2 hour delay caused by the search for Ambrose. Did mention that Biederbeck is a prick?

And now – poof! – we are in Egypt and get to see Phibes’ lair. It is an undiscovered tomb that he has set up to look like … wait for it! … his old demolished house! There is a platform for the organ and everything! Phibes says that it just needs a little touching up, which we learn means turning the ancient Egyptian relief carvings into carvings of modern people wearing tuxedos and ball gowns! Ha! Biederbeck meets up with the rest of his “expedition” and they make camp not far from Phibes’ lair. Oh yeah, and by this time the cops have figured out that Phibes is involved so Inspector Trout and Superintendent Waverly follow everybody out into the Egyptian desert.

Phibes discovers an ancient magical sarcophagus that was used to hold the mummies of Pharaohs prior to them being resurrected by “The River of Life.” He immediately sticks Victoria’s body into this very modern looking container and continues preparations for the big night. Can you see what is coming? Yep! Biederbeck and party find the sarcophagus and take it to their camp.

Well! Lots of people die in creative ways and Phibes and Biederbeck face off for the climactic confrontation after Phibes kidnaps Diana. So how does it all shake out? What happens to Phibes? Victoria? Biederbeck? Diana? Trout? What’s up with this “River of Life” shit? Does Phibes think he is in Oz? To answer these questions and have a bunch of silly fun in the process, you must see Dr. Phibes Rises Again!

Goodies:

Babeage: Caroline Munro! No doubt about it, this lady was a hottie. She has no lines (playing a dead woman after all), but she is easy on the eyes. Caroline Munro was in plenty of b-movies throughout her career so I am sure we will meet her again. Diana was played by the attractive Fiona Lewis, but her character is so underused that she contributes nothing to the flick.

Sleazeploitation: Not much really. Of course there is the whole undead guy rhapsodizing to his dead wife thing. Kind of gross if you really think about it.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Phibes, Vulnavia, Biederbeck, clockwork pythons, attack eagle,
attack scorpions and of course Superintendent Waverly.

Violence: Several creative deaths that are more funny than shocking.

Gore & FX: Great sets and costumes just like the previous flick and one rather gory death by attack eagle.

Great Lines:

Insp. Trout, “Now, now, now! Let’s just get our priorities right! A man has been senselessly killed – murdered!” Biederbeck, “All right, so he has! But I have been senselessly robbed!”

Insp. Trout, “A man who pierces the skull of another man with a golden snake; that is not the work of a common thief, sir, with respect.”

Ship Captain referring to Ambrose, “I suppose he never… How can I put this? I suppose he never touched the bottle?”

Sup. Waverly reading Trout’s report, “Upon arrival I found the man’s body surrounded by…” Trout, “Balls.” Waverly, “Now look here Trout!” Trout, “On the billiard table, sir.”

Trout, “Oh it’s Phibes alright! And he always comes back!”

Trout, “Every time we build a better mousetrap sir, Phibes has built a better mouse!”

Phibes upon realizing that Victoria’s body has been stolen, “Those devils! To take from me the true treasures of my life! I shall get them back. Who tries to stop me will die!”

One of the Biederbeck expedition says of him, “Remarkable man. I hardly know him, but I’ve never met anyone so completely determined.” Huh!?

Trout, “What about Baker? Should we dispose of his body?” Waverly, “Don’t know about his body, but we should give his head a decent burial.”

Biederbeck, “What kind of fiend are you!?” Phibes, “The kind that wins, my friend!”

Moral: Never take “no” for an answer.

Conclusion:

Dr. Phibes Rises Again
continues the fun campy humor from the The Abominable Dr. Phibes. However, the sequel is not as well made as the original. The story is not as well paced as the first film, and the production costs seem to have been less than those of the original. Price changes the pronunciation of Vulnavia from “Vul-nee-via” to “Vul-nay-via” during the flick. I would have thought it should be pronounced “Vul-nah-via”, but what do I know? The comic relief of the scenes between Inspector Trout and Superintendent Waverly are funny, but it is at the cost of Trout becoming merely someone to say silly lines as opposed to the more developed character of the original film. Another thing that bothered me was that Biederbeck’s past was never mentioned. We only find out that he has been keeping himself alive for hundreds of years. We also do not find out how he and Phibes know each other. Kind of a shame. Nice idea for another Phibes movie – a prequel where we find out his and Biederbeck’s pasts. But that would probably not make for a fun horror / comedy. With it’s flaws, this film is still fun. If you liked The Abominable Dr. Phibes, then Dr. Phibes Rises Again will make you smile.

Going Dutch. Again.

Christoffel Blond Double Hopped Dutch Lager

Beerbrewery St. Christoffel was founded in 1986 in Roermond, Dutch Limburg, Holland.

This is the blond lager that goes with the double malted amber lager I reviewed with The Abominable Dr. Phibes. We all know what lagers are by now right? Okay. Double hopping means that hops are added twice during the brewing and or aging process in order to add flavor aroma and bitterness.

ABV: 6.00% IBU: 20 – 30 I would guess.

Color: Cloudy golden yellow tending toward light amber.

Aroma: Nice clean hoppy aroma.

Head: Foamy, small bubbled semi-persistent head.

Taste: Very clean mild start moves to a slightly dry middle where the hops start to assert themselves and then to a crisp bitter hop finish and a short tangy aftertaste.

Recommendation: This is a very good clean crisp dry lager. Nice hop taste and bitterness. Not as powerful as some over hopped American craft brews with the smooth balanced taste preferred by traditional European brewers. Recommended for those who want to try European beer without going too far from the American lager style.

So there you have it! My make-up reviews are now complete!. I hope you noticed that this post was a little shorter than my posts have been lately. I am trying to be more economical with my words. Sometimes it is hard to do that and still be able to interject my little smart ass remarks, but I keep trying!

Till next time, stay safe, have fun, watch cool movies and drink real beer.

-BigRuta

Remember: comments, questions, contributions and requests always welcome!

"It could be made into a monster if we all pulled together as a team."

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2007 by bigruta
Well, the holidays are over. Whew! You guys know I try to keep the reviews commin’ at ya, but the holiday season just eats up all my time. I sure hope you and yourin enjoyed some wonderful holiday festivities. I had a blast with my family, as usual. I saw Ida Sue on Christmas Eve. She was sweet, but she would not let me see her feet. Ah, well. Ya know the holidays are times for making memories, and while I was reveling I remembered that there were a couple of flicks I promised you I’d review someday. No time like the present, so the first Duh Spot review of 2007 is…
The Giant Gila Monster
Hollywood Pictures Corp., 1959, 74 minutes
actors: Don Sullivan, Fred Graham, Shug Fisher, Bob Thompson, Ken Knox, Gay McLendon,
Jan McLendon
director: Ray Kellog
writers: Jay Simms, Ray Kellog
producers: Ken Curtis, B. R. McLendon
executive producer: Gordon McLendon
Taxonomy: Giant mutated critter flick – with twentysomething teens.

Plot: A jumbo sized gila monster feels left out of small town life and takes it out on them crazy teens.

Bluntly: Giant lizard, hot-rods, explosions, crappy music – what else could you want?

Overview:

Okay, this is the second flick produced by Hollywood Pictures Corp. The first was The Killer Shrews which I reviewed nearly a year ago. Unlike that flick, The Giant Gila Monster features a cast of complete unknowns (a couple of the folks in The Killer Shrews were only semi-unknowns at the time it was made) and a none too cohesive storyline.

The flick begins just outside a small town in Texas. A young couple are speeding down the road at night when suddenly the car hits…something. As the couple struggle to get out of the wrecked car they are attacked by…something. Something big.

Soon we meet Chase Winstead (Don Sullivan), a young auto mechanic and hot-rodder. Chase is very popular with the local teen members of the hot-rod club. Chase is not much older then the kids, but he has his own place over the garage where he works and is the best mechanic around. We also soon learn that Chase is a singer and cares for his mother and crippled little sister. Yep, Chase is just a lovable all American grease monkey with a heart of gold. He also has a cute French exchange student girlfriend, the studboy! What a guy!

It seems that the son of a Mr. Wheeler (Bob Thompson) has disappeared. Mr. Wheeler is a bitter old man who does not like Chase. Nor did he like his son’s girlfriend, who came from a poor family. He knows his son was a friend of Chase Winstead and wants the Sheriff to ask him if he had any ideas where his son may be. Chase tells Sheriff Jeff (Fred Graham) that he did not know of Wheeler’s son having any plans to run off with his girlfriend. Here we learn that Sheriff Jeff likes Chase too and often asks his help when dealing with teens.

Night scene, tanker truck full of nitroglycerin (!), big monster eyes peeking out from brush on side of road – this don’t look good! BOOM!

Now a bit of 50s techno nostalgia, Chase learns of several car crashes by listening in on the town party telephone line! He then is able to be the first on the scene to get the salvage! That boy’s got quite a head on his shoulders, yes sirree! Sheriff Jeff, being the nice easy going guy we all know gets to be Sheriff in small Texas towns, lets Chase nick parts from the wrecks before the insurance guys show up! Chase then uses these parts for his hot rods. Mr. Wheeler learns of this and is now out for the Sheriff’s job and Chase’s head!

There are a couple more scenes of the giant gila monster squishing cars and eating stranded motorists. These are quite campy and fun due to the fact that the “giant” gila monster is a real gila monster filmed in close-up and then back projected against the actors to seem huge. Kellog also employs the already old technique of the monster point-of-view camera as we see victims look up into the camera and scream! Cheap ass special effects! God help me, I do love them so!

Now we see some big cool dude in a western suit driving a big Caddy along a country road at night, he’s drunk, is there something in the brush? Oh yeah! Drive In movie goodness as the giant gila monster slithers rather lethargically across a cardboard “road” only to be nearly
hit by a tiny model car! Quick cut to the interior of Big Daddy’s car and we see the giant gila monster out the windshield. Mr. Sharp Dressed Man swerves and wrecks his car in the ditch on the side of the road. Guess who shows up to tow him back to town? Yep! Good old Chase.

Chase lets the guy sleep it off at his place and the next morning learns that the guy is none other than Texas radio legend Horatio “Steamroller” Smith! Smith feels indebted to Chase and tells him if he will pay him back for his kindness.

Now comes the most terrifying scene in the flick! A really cool scene of the giant gila monster wreaking destruction? Nope! Chase sings! Sweet cracker sandwich does he ever suck! Chase sings some dumb gospel song about a sad little mushroom (!) to cheer up his crippled little sister. I wanted to stuff beer bottles in my ears! This may be the worst song I have ever heard in a movie. Oh yeah, he also plays a ukulele. This scene is simply wrong.

Well, Chase and his hot-rod friends help Sheriff Jeff search the old river bed area for the missing Wheeler boy and his girlfriend. They spend a lot of time looking at broken tree limbs and pondering what seem to be strange tracks, and all the while the giant gila monster is spying on them from nearby brush. He must be a ninja giant gila monster because the local flora does not look like it could hide such a big critter. The kids eventually find the Wheeler boy’s car and go tell the sheriff.

Okay, now we finally get some good giant gila monster action! The big critter is creeping along the old river bed near a train trestle. We see a passenger train chugging down the tracks, then the giant gila monster takes out the trestle and the train plunges into the river bed. Lot’s of screaming as the giant gila monster makes dinner out of the passengers. There are two great laughs here; first the train engine changes from one shot to the next and then the painfully obvious fact that the crashing train is really an HO scale electric train! We are also treated to a scene where the giant gila monster makes a car explode with it’s
tongue!

Seems the town drunk saw the whole thing and tells Sheriff Jeff. Instead of laughing in his face and locking him up in the drunk tank, Sheriff Jeff believes the guy and then calls Chase to ask for a book on reptiles! The investigation turns up other witnesses and giant gila footprints and the hunt is on! But not before the all important “Platter Party.” Yep there is a big dance at a barn on the edge of town and Chase gets Horatio “Steamroller” Smith to DJ! Smith plays a demo he had Chase make – he’s going to turn Chase into a star! The kids cheer and ask Chase to sing for them. Oh my dear god! He sings the sad little mushroom song again! No! Nooooo! Make it stop! Please make it stop!

Just as I was going to shove forks in my ears to deafen myself and in so doing save my soul, the giant gila monster attacks the platter party! Yea! Chase stopped singing and put down the infernal ukulele of misery! In the middle of all the screaming and panic, Chase bravely runs away! He goes to the garage and gets four cans of nitroglycerin. Was there really this much nitro in Texas in the 50s? The nitro containers look like four small coffee cans labeled “XXX!” Chase zooms back to the barn (he has the fastest hot-rod ya know), aims the car at the giant gila monster, jumps out and BOOM! Giant gila monster barbecue Texas style!

Everybody is okay, but Chase is a bit sad about his car. Sheriff Jeff tells him that the railroad will buy him a new car. Huh!? Why would the railroad…? Oh, screw it. The end.

Goodies:

Babeage: None. Chase’s girlfriend Lisa is cute, but nothing special.

Sleazeploitation: Nope. 50s.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: The giant gila monster, natch. Chase’s sister (joke!).

Violence: None aside from the silly gila attacks.

Gore & F/X: “Giant” gila monster (kind of cute really), neato model trains, BOOM!

Great Lines:

The completely unnecessary introductory narration, “Gila monsters live in deep forests and impenetrable shadows.” Gila monsters live in the desert!

Sheriff Jeff asks Chase about the Wheeler boy and his girlfriend, “Were they in any kind of…trouble?” Chase, “Like what?” Sheriff Jeff, “You know.” Come on Chase! Does he have to spell it out for you? Did he knock her up?

Sheriff Jeff, “Have you heard the reports of a giant lizard?” Mr. Wheeler, “Yes, but it is just not possible.” Sheriff Jeff, “Well why not? There have been giants before.” The shrews! Don’t you remember the shrews, man!

Lyrics of the sad little mushroom gospel song:

“There was a mushroom,
a sad little mushroom,
there was a meadow ready to cry,
there was a sparrow,
a gray little sparrow,
there was an eagle silent and high,
And the Lord said, ‘Laugh children, laugh!'”

Moral: If you are not a hot young scantily clad Hawaiian babe – put the ukulele down!

Conclusion:

The Giant Gila Monster played as the second feature on a double bill with The Killer Shrews. Overall, it is not as successful as The Killer Shrews both as a monster movie and a so bad it’s good cheap flick. The pacing is uneven and the giant gila monster really does not do that much. Look at the credits again. Old Gordon had the whole family involved in this one! Also Ken Knox who played DJ Horatio “Steamroller” Smith was an actual DJ from a radio station that Gordon McLendon managed in Texas. The Giant Gila Monster is a fairly fun little flick that will make you laugh. But it may also make you fear ukuleles for the rest of your life!

Yet another blast from the past…

Nosferatu

Great Lakes Brewing Company
2516 Market Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113

You may remember during the 2005 Halloween reviews I reviewed the silent film Nosferatu and stated that I could not find a sample of the beer of the same name to review. Well, since then I have had the opportunity to enjoy The Great Lakes Brewing Company’s wonderful Nosferatu red stock ale both on tap and from the bottle. Okay, so what is a stock ale? A stock ale is an ale brewed to be high in alcohol content and usually also very flavorful and meant to be stored for a long time. This type of ale originated in America where it would be produced
in order to last throughout the harsh New England winters.

ABV: 8.00% IBU: 75

Color: A rich tawny red. One might call it sanguine.

Aroma: Sweet roasted malts contrasted with a nice hop tang.

Head: Small bubbled, dense, persistent, cream colored rocky head that produces Belgian Lace as you drink.

Taste: Nosferatu starts off rich and hoppy, a bit sweet with full roast malt flavor. The middle
begins to develop the hop bitterness that one would assume from a beer with such a high IBU value. This bitterness intensifies especially along the sides of the mouth though the finish. There
is a lasting bitter hoppy aftertaste with just a tiny hint of the initial malty sweetness.

Recommendation:

Nosferatu is a very smooth flavorful beer. You might think that with an IBU rating this high this would be a pucker inducing brew you only challange your hardcore hophead friends to try. However, the brewmasters at Great Lakes Brewing Company have crafted a beer that flows from gentle malt sweetness to zippy hop bite without a single harsh element. Highly recommended for red ale lovers (you will never touch Killian’s again!). Hopheads will like it, but may think it is too mild. Recommended for those in search of a good red ale.

As for me, let me just mention that Nosferatu is the only red ale I have tried that I actually enjoy.

Okay, the first post of 2007 is in the bag. Hope the new year has been kind to all of you. So, I guess I’ll plant you now, and dig you later!

-BigRuta

Remember: comments, questions, suggestions and requests always welcome!

"One of these things is not like the others…"

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2006 by bigruta
Three Card Monty, The Cups, The Bait and Switch, all things where what you expect to happen next does not. Just like tonight’s review! The difference is that in the above cases there is a con-man trying to do you wrong. I would never do anything to intentionally harm you, my loyal minions! Why I wouldn’t hurt a fly! Moths, that is altogether different. All moths must die! Die I tell you! Die! Die! DIE! Sorry. I lost my head for a moment. Which brings us to…

Sleepy Hollow You don't know Jack.

Paramount, 1999, 105 minutes, R

actors: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Marc Pickering, Michael Gambon, Miranda Richardson, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Micheal Gough, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee, Casper Van Dien, Lisa Marie, Martin Landau

writer: Andrew Kevin Walker

director: Tim Burton

executive producer: Francis Ford Coppola

Taxonomy: New twist on classic tale flick.

Plot: Constable Ichabod Crane is assigned to solve the perplexing murders in the small village of Sleepy Hollow.

Bluntly: A wonderful re-think of the Washington Irving classic.
Welcome!
Overview:

Okay. I’m calling an audible. I can not write out an outline of the plot as I usually do. Why? Because this flick is really rather complex. The more I think about it the more directions I want to go, but none of them do the film justice and would give too much away. I have a vision of a long wordy mess. So. Tell ya what I’m gonna do! I will throw a wide net, paint with broad strokes, lie and make shit up. That last part was a joke. I am going to just give you the big picture version of the set-up for this flick. I won’t mention specifics and I certainly will not tell you the ending. You will then do your part and watch the movie!
Hessian chop!
Remember English class? Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?” No? Well if you want a refresher, you can read the story. Briefly, Ichabod Crane is a gangly superstitious school master in a small New York village. He loves a rich farmer’s daughter and competes with a local young buck for her affection. He eventually is attacked by The Headless Horseman and disappears. The end of the story lets you decide if the supernatural was involved. Got that? Good. Now you can forget most of it.
CSI New York
In Sleepy Hollow Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is a young New York city constable who champions rational scientific investigation techniques. Today we call this forensics, but in 1799 they called it disrespectful to the tradition of law. The Burgomaster (Christopher Lee) challenges Crane to prove himself by sending him to the little upstate village of Sleepy Hollow to solve a series of murders where the victims were all decapitated.

Once Ichabod gets to Sleepy Hollow, the plot thickens like old oatmeal. The town elders tell him point blank that the murderer is The Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken), a revenant from the nearby haunted Western Woods. It seems the horseman is the restless spirit of a Hessian mercenary who loved bloodshed, filed his teeth to points to scare his opponents, and used a broadsword and axe to decapitate the enemy. Eventually, the Hessian was hunted down, beheaded with his own sword and buried in the Western Woods. This version of Ichabod Crane does not believe in ghosts and vows to get to the bottom of the mystery.
He has no head for business.
Ichabod takes up residence in the Von Tassel home and is soon smitten with young Katrina Von Tassel (Christina Ricci). Ichabod then proceeds to study a recent death scene, gains an assistant in the form of the latest victim’s son young Masbath (Marc Pickering), performs an autopsy (!), and begins to suspect a conspiracy. This is done very well with Depp portraying Crane as determined yet insecure. He does not like the sight of blood or dead bodies, for example. Depp’s Ichabod Crane comes off as sort of a prototypical Sherlock Holmes a century early!

Then things get a bit messier when Ichabod sees the town magistrate beheaded by The Headless Horseman right in front of him! The film starts to pick up speed and witchcraft, dream visions, the question of Ichabod’s past, the importance of the color red, more detection, supernatural fun in the Western Woods, and the question of why the horseman is killing certain people and not others all come into play. Nearly every character’s … uh … character is questioned and it all rushes to a climax that pays homage to the Universal Frankenstein movies as well as the Gothic flicks of Hammer and Amicus. Alternative power.

Goodies:

Babeage: For those who like Christina Ricci, they should dig her here as a blond. My pick for babe of the flick is Lisa Marie who plays … nope, not tellin!

Sleazeploitation: Some sexual stuff, not very explicit. Some bad family vibes.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: The Hessian/Headless Horseman, a cool witch, some neat scarecrows and of course Christina Ricci.

Violence: Yes indeed! The tag line on the DVD menu says, “Heads will roll” and they do! They also bounce, spin and fly! Some very cool fight scenes too!

Gore & F/X: The heads, lots of blood, a creepy tree and a neat transformation scene. Plus the great town which was built for the film.

Great Lines:

Ichabod Crane: “I have found something, which was lately … a man.”

Burgomaster: “Remember, it is you, Ichabod Crane, who is now put to the test.”

Ichabod Crane: “We have murders in New York without the benefit of ghosts and goblins.” Baltus Van Tassel: “You are a long way from New York, constable.”

Ichabod Crane: “The assassin is a man of flesh and blood, and I will discover him.”

Ichabod Crane: “You have moved the body?” Dr. Lancaster: “I have.” Ichabod Crane: “You must never move the body!” Dr. Lancaster: “Why not?” Ichabod Crane: “Because!”

Ichabod Crane: “There is no horseman, there never was a horseman, there will never be a horseman!”

Ichabod Crane: “It is truth, though truth is not always appearance.”

Ichabod Crane: “You’ll soon get your bearings young Masbath. The Bronx is up, the Battery is down and home is this way.”

Moral: How many times do I have to say this? If your opponent is undead, guns don’t work!!

Conclusion: Sleepy Hollow is the best kind of ‘based on’ adaptation. It takes the best parts of the original source and makes them better by adding entertainingly original ideas to the mix. Believe me, if you think Irving’s story is a bore, then try this movie. I guarantee you will be swept up in the great combination of gothic horror, mysticism, Holmesian detective story, terrific action, wonderful effects and some very nice acting. One word of caution; some of the scenes in this flick would be too much for younger kids, just so you know.

Highly recommended.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Jones for being in three of the six Halloween reviews for 2006!

Do you believe in Pumpkinhead?

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

New holland Brewing Company, LLC
Holland, Michigan

Well, you knew I had to review a pumpkin ale for Halloween didn’t you? You remember from last year, I’ sure, that pumpkin ale is simply a light ale, possibly wheat, made with pumpkin and the traditional pumpkin pie type spices. This one opts for nutmeg and cinnamon.

ABV: 5.50% IBU: maybe 20 to 30

Color: A cloudy amber with just the slightest hint of orange. Cloudy from wheat proteins? Perhaps. However, it might just be from the pumpkin and spice.

Aroma: A very soft, slight aroma. The kind way to say this would be “delicate.” The accurate way to say this would be that there is very little aroma. I could not detect pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon or much hops or malt for that matter. Aroma hints at taste so this does not bode well.

Head: White, fairly dense and not persistent. Probably not much wheat. Another bad sign.

Taste: A slightly sweet start moves to a mild sweet and sour hint of spice middle and then to a small bitter finish and short aftertaste. I did not taste pumpkin.

Recommendation: I can not recommend this beer. It is very close to being bland. There are no high notes, nothing distinctive about it whatsoever. The label is the best feature of this beer. I will have to give New Holland brews another try, but this one did not impress. Walk on by.

Okay all you minions get back to … uh … minning. Whatever. Hope you have a great Halloween! Give freely to the weeners and as always: Watch fun movies and drink Real Beer!

-BigRuta

Remember: comments, questions, suggestions, requests and contributions welcome!

"Instead of being my deliverance, she had a strange resemblance to a cat named…"

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2006 by bigruta
Have you caught on to this years Halloween review theme? I sure hope so, but on the off chance that too many illegal substances or too much election advertising have dulled your mental abilities to the point where you can no longer remember your own name, tonight’s review should leave no doubt.

Young Frankenstein

20th Century Fox, 1974, 106 minutes, PG

actors: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Kennith Mars, Madeline Kahn

writers: Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks

director: Mel Brooks

Taxonomy: Loving gothic horror spoof flick.

Plot: Baron von Frankenstein’s grandson returns to Transylvania and picks up where gramps left off.

Bluntly: Unquestionably the best horror spoof ever!

Overview:

When Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), an eminent surgeon and professor of medicine, who is so ashamed of his mad grandfather’s acts that he passionately insists that his name is pronounced “Fronkensteen,” learns that he is the sole heir of his grandfather’s estate, he zips off to Transylvania to check it all out. This does not sit well with his betrothed Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn), but such is life.
Any late fees?
Once at Gramp’s old castle, Freddy meets his staff. Igor(Marty Feldman), a hunchback with a moving hump who is so amused at Frederick’s insecurity that he insists that his name is pronounced “Eyegor” and proceeds to refer to his new boss as “Froderick.” Inga (Teri Garr) a cute blond who is soon falling for Frederick. And Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman), an old crone the mere mention of who’s name upsets horses and who we soon learn had a fling with Freddy’s gramps.

Well, Freddy soon finds his grandfather’s medical library and reads his experimental journal entitled “How I Did It.” After a night of frenzied reading Frederick exclaims, “IT…COULD…WORK!” Seems Frederick does not think that his grandpappy was all that nuts anymore and he, Igor and Inga plan to carry on with Baron von Frankenstein’s work.
Give him a sedagive!
Before you can say Boris, Frederick and Igor are robbing graves and setting up all the wonderful electrical equipment in grandpappy’s lab. I have read reports on the internet that the sets used in this flick were original leftovers from the Universal Frankenstein and other monster movies. I have not been able to confirm this, but the sets and props are great! The rooms are huge and all the crackly sparky electric lab equipment looks better than it did in many of the old flicks! That is one of the cool things about this movie, it looks like it had a bigger budget.

Igor has a little mishap while stealing a brain for Frederick’s creation and has to settle for an abnormal brain instead of the one Frederick wanted, that of Hans Delbruck, “scientist and saint.” In fact, there was a real Hans Delbruck. He was a historian who specialized in military history and how it was related to politics and economics. I guess the scientist and saint thing is sarcasm.

On a dark and stormy night, naturally, Frederick, Igor and Inga try to bring their creature to life. It don’t work. Frederick says that they should face defeat with, “Quiet dignity and grace.” He then flips out and starts to strangle the body screaming, “Son of a bitch! Bastard! I’ll get you for this! What did you do to me!? What did you do to me!? I do not want to live!”
Kemp is the man.
Cut to the town hall in the village below the castle. The place is full of angry villagers who want Fredericks blood. One of the town elders states, “We still have nightmares from five times before!” This is a reference to the five Universal Frankenstein films! We are then introduced to the fantastically silly character of Inspector Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kemp, player brilliantly by veteran character and voice actor Kennith Mars. Inspector Kemp is my favorite character in the flick. He is an over-the-top stereotypical provincial German policeman who likes to strike dramatic poses, wears a monocle over his eye patch and speaks in such a strong German accent that even the other villagers do not understand him half the time! He also has an articulated wooden arm that is used to great physical humor effect. This character is a parody of the Burgomeister from The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) who has his arm ripped of by the monster.
Soup, it's good and good for you!
Hey guess what kiddies! The monster is alive! Never saw that coming did ya? The monster is played by Peter Boyle with wonderful style that makes us feel fear and sympathy much like Boris Karloff did, but with more humor. Of course he gets lose and goes on a rampage – three times! During which we are treated to great parodies of famous scenes from Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein. There is the famous scene where the monster meets a little girl throwing flowers in a lake and the scene where the monster comes across a poor blind hermit. This scene is just a riot with great physical humor from Boyle and an uncredited Gene Hackman who plays Harold the hermit. And when the monster abducts Elizabeth we get to witness perhaps the funniest sex scene ever!
Sharp dressed man.
Well, Frederick tries to get everyone to understand that the creature is not evil and can be like other people, but that don’t work! We do get to see a swell dance number though! Villagers storm the castle, with torches and pitchforks natch, even using Kemp’s false arm as a battering ram! Frederick tries one last desperate attempt to make the creature a normal person and…Nope, not going any farther! If you have not seen this flick, I don’t want to spoil the end.

Goodies:

Babeage: Teri Garr is cute and a bit sexy as Inga. Kahn and Leachman are both very funny, but let’s face it, neither one would be mistaken for a babe. Ssss!

Sleazeploitation: Some great sex humor between Wilder, Garr and Feldman as well as between Boyle and Kahn.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Boyle’s monster, Inspector Kemp and of course Marty Feldman.

Violence: Very little and done with silliness in mind.

Gore & F/X: Actually there are some good effects and a couple of yucky props, but certainly no gore.

Great Lines: The following quotes are presented without context cues. You just have to see the flick to see where they fit! Ha!

Frederick Frankenstein: “Hearts and kidneys are tinker toys! I’m talking about the central nervous system!” “My grandfather’s work was doo-doo!”

Inga: “Vould you like a rrroll in ze hay? It’s fun! Rrroll, roll roll in ze hay!”

Inga: “Werewolf!” Frederick: “Werewolf!?” Igor: “There.” Frederick: “What?” Igor: “There wolf; there castle.”

Frederick: “What knockers!” Inga: “Oh! Sank you doktor.”

Inga: “Put ze candle beck!”

Igor: “Two nasty looking switches over here, but I’m not going to be the first.”

Frederick: “Damn your eyes!” Igor “Too late!”

Inga: “He vould haf an enormous schwanzstucker!” Frederick: “That goes without saying.” Igor: “He’s going to be very popular.”

Frederick: “What a filthy job!” Igor: “Could be worse.” Frederick: “How?” Igor: “Could be raining.”

Igor: “Abby someone.” Frederick: “Abby someone? Abby who?” Igor: “Abby Normal.”

Inspector Kemp: “Vee hadt better confeerm ze fact dat yunk Frankeschtein is indeed vollowing een ees grandfadda’s vootschtops!” Villagers: “What?” Inspector Kemp: “Vollowing in his grandfadda’s vootschtops. Vootschtops, vootschtops!” Villagers: “Oh, footsteps!”

Frederick: “Sedagive!!?”

Little girl’s father: “Ven monsters are loose, boards must be tight!”

Harold the hermit: “I was going to make espresso!” This was ad-libbed by Gene Hackman!

Moral: Fire is our friend.

Conclusion:

Wow! Young Frankenstein is the best gothic horror spoof ever made – period! The writing is great, the physical humor top notch and the film was made in the same great black and white style as the films it parodys. It is obvious that Wilder and Brooks love the old Universal horror flicks. There are little in jokes and references to these earlier films all throughout the flick.

If you have not seen Young Frankenstein…have you been living in a cave? Anyway, there is no excuse not to see this movie, Comedy Central has been running it every Halloween for years now! But I would recommend getting the Special Edition DVD. You need to see this flick unedited and the DVD has some nice extras like deleted scenes, interviews and a documentary.

Is this Mel Brooks’ best film? Many say yes. I admit I am torn between Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, but in the end, you will laugh your ass off to either!

Highly recommended, especially during Halloween season.

Not your Grandfadda’s bier!

The Kaiser: Imperial Oktoberfest Lager

Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, Colorado, USA

Imperial Oktoberfest Lager? Okay, an Oktoberfest lager is a variant on traditional Munich style lager that emphasizes sweet smooth maltiness over sharp hop bitter flavors. Not surprisingly, this style originated during Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany. The Imperial part? Remember when I told you about Imperial Russian Stout? No? What a surprise. Imperial simply means that the flavors and alcohol content are intensified.

ABV: 8.90% IBU: 25

Color: A deep honey amber, almost, but not quite, red.

Aroma: Soft honey and caramel notes highlighting the malt and downplaying the hops.

Head: Small bubbled, tight, cream colored and persistent. A very attractive beer.

Taste: The taste starts off with a smooth rich malty sweetness that gently turns to a slightly sour middle and then moves to a smoothly bitter finish and a light short hoppy aftertaste. This beer is a very good example of the Oktoberfest style. The flavors do not jump out at you or try to out compete each other. This beer has very nice balance with the sour and bitter elements seeming to slowly rise up under the malt sweetness yet never becoming overpowering. Hopheads will not think it has enough zap, but those who can appreciate a well crafted mild sweet beer should be happy.

Recommendation: The Kaiser is a good American version of a traditional Munich Oktoberfest lager that should appeal to anyone who likes European amber lagers and would be a great introduction to the style. Recommended.

One more thing, all beers should be decanted to fully appreciate their characteristics. If you just drink straight out of the bottle or can you are missing much of what the brewers worked so hard to create. Sometimes this can’t be helped. No glasses at ballgames, ya know. But when drinking a beer as pretty as The Kaiser you owe it to yourself to pour it into a good clear glass. Hold it up to the light, check the color, swirl it a little, admire the head and aroma, then breath in while you tip the glass up to drink so you can get the aroma and taste together. When you drink, don’t do the little timid sip, quaff it baby! You’ll be glad you did!

Well folks, you all have a safe and happy Halloween! Be good to the little weeners or BigRuta might come and drink all your beer!

-BigRuta

Remember: Comments, questions, suggestions and requests always welcome.

"Well, don’t look at me like I was freakin’…"

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2006 by bigruta
And now we go back to the days of the classics…

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Universal International, 1948, 82 minutes

actors: Bud Abbot, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolf, Vincent Price (voice)

director: Charles Barton

Taxonomy: Early horror/comedy flick.

Plot: Two railroad porters encounter Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster while hauling exhibits to a horror attraction in Florida.

Bluntly: Universal’s best from the 30’s and 40’s together in one film!

Overview:

When the owner of McDougal’s House of Horror learns that his highly anticipated shipment from England has arrived in his native Florida, he is overjoyed. When he meets the railroad freight handlers that are to deliver the items to his business, he is less than thrilled. The porters, Chick Young and Wilbur Grey (Bud Abbot and Lou Costello) don’t care how Mr. McDougal feels, they just want to do the job and get away from the cranky customer.

Upon unpacking the two large crates, Wilbur learns that the bodies inside are not dead or props as everyone assumes, but in fact the actual live Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster (Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange). Drac hypnotizes Wilbur and then he and Frank make a run for it. A furious McDougal vows to talk to the police about Chick and Wilbur, who he believes have stolen his merchandise. Sure enough our boys are soon thrown in jail.

When Chick and Wilbur get back to the boarding house where they live, they meet Laurence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) who backs up Wilbur’s wild story about Dracula and Frankenstein. Chick thinks they are both nuts. Larry asks Wilbur to lock him in his room for the night. Wilbur thinks it is odd, but does so – stealing an apple while he is at it.

The next morning Chick and Wilbur meet Joan Raymond (Jane Randolf). She was the woman who bailed them out of jail. The guys had thought it was Dr. Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert), Wilbur’s squeeze, who also seems very concerned with Wilbur’s head. Joan thinks Wilbur is cute and he invites her along to the masquerade ball he is attending with Sandra that evening. Chick seems incredulous that two attractive women would fall for Wilbur. Of course we know that Joan’s real reason for cuddling up to Wilbur is to try and get a lead on the missing cargo for the insurance company.

When Chick and Wilbur check on Larry, they find his room wrecked and him a mess. He then confides in them that he is a werewolf. Wilbur is concerned and Chick thinks Larry is doubly nuts.

Well, our heros boat out to Sandra’s castle on an isolated island. Yep, this young attractive physician lives in a castle. On an island. Off the Florida coast. Uh huh. Anyway, Chick, Wilbur and Joan meet Sandra and her guest Dr. Ligos (guess who!). While Joan is snooping in a book by Dr. Frankenstein, Sandra peeks in her purse and finds her insurance investigator license – doh! You see, Sandra is working with Dracula – oops, I mean Dr. Ligos – to try to find a submissive brain for Frankenstein’s monster. That’s why she is hanging on Wilbur! Why would she do such a thing? Well, Drac is blackmailing her! Seems Dr. Mornay is wanted. Just for good measure, Drac turns her into a vampire. You can’t be too careful.

Once at the ball, Larry Talbot shows up and accuses Dr. Ligos of being Count Dracula. Ligos laughs this off because he is dressed as Dracula after all. Well, it’s the full moon again and Larry turns into a werewolf and tries to attack Wilbur, but Wilbur runs away. Yes that’s right, Lou Costello can outrun the Wolfman! Bet you didn’t know that, did ya? Eventually Larry attacks McDougal, but everybody thinks it is Chick because he was wearing a wolf mask. Dracula abducts Joan as well as Wilbur, and Larry and Chick have to save them while avoiding the cops sent to arrest Chick.

It all comes to a boil at Sandra’s castle where the monster rebels against Dracula and ends up throwing Sandra out a window! Larry changes into the Wolfman – twice in one night! – and goes after Drac while Chick first saves Wilbur and then the two of them try to save Joan while Frankenstein is chasing them! Finally the minor character of Dr. Stevens, Sandra’s assistant, saves the day by pouring gas all over the dock Frankenstein is standing on and flamb├ęs poor old Frankie! During this scene I could not help noticing how much gas Dr. Stevens spilled on his pants. He would have gone up like a torch in real life!

Just at the end of the flick, there is a joke about The Invisible Man featuring Vincent Price’s voice.

Goodies:

Babeage: While Lenore Aubert and Jane Randolf are attractive, considering the age of this flick, referring to them as babes is kind of like telling someone that their Grandma is hot.

Sleazeploitation: 1948, okay?

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Drac, Frankie, the Wolfman, The Invisible Man and of course Bud and Lou.

Violence: The only scene I would call violent is when Frankie throws Dr. Mornay out the window. No dummy was involved, that is a real stunt person getting flung through the glass. This quick scene comes as sort of an unexpected shock between the silly stuff.

There is also a scene where it appears that Lou Costello gets accidentally punched when Frankenstein’s fist comes crashing through a door!

Gore & FX: Nah. The make-up is more mask like than in the original Universal monster flicks.

Great Lines:

Wilbur to McDougal: “It’s going to cost you overtime. I’m a union man and I only work 16 hours a day.” McDougal: “A union man works 8 hours a day!” Wilbur: “I belong to two unions!”

Chick on Sandra’s attraction to Wilbur: “Frankly, I don’t get it.” Sandra’s response: “And frankly, you never will!”

Chick to Joan: “He’s [Wilbur] going to a masquerade ball, but I’m not doing anything.” Joan: “Then you’ll be awfully lonely.”

Larry to Wilbur: “But you and I have a date with destiny!” Wilbur: “Let Chick go with destiny, please, huh?”

Dracula to Frankenstein when he first sees Wilbur: “Don’t be afraid! He won’t hurt you!”

Dracula as Dr. Ligos: “That’s what we need today, young blood! And young brains!”

Dracula to Sandra: “This time the monster must have no will of his own. No fiendish intellect to oppose his master!” Sandra: “There my dear Count, I fell I have exceeded your fondest wishes. The new brain I have chosen for the monster is so simple, so pliable, he will obey you like a trained dog.”

Larry: “In half an hour the moon will rise, and I’ll turn into a wolf.” Wilbur: “You and twenty million other guys!”

Wilbur to Chick: “It’s nearly sunset. If Dracula lives here, he’s going to want breakfast. I’m fatter than you! It ain’t going to be me!”

Wilbur to Frankenstein: “Frankie I’m telling ya it’s a bad deal! I’ve had this brain for thirty years and it hasn’t worked yet!”

The Invisible Man: “I was hoping to get in on the fun!”

Moral: Anyone dressed as Dracula, is Dracula!

Conclusion:

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a hoot! It is fun and family friendly and should definitely be on your Halloween movie list. One of the great things about this flick is the fact that although A & C are there for laughs, the other actors play it straight! This makes it a fun comedy and a rather silly but fair monster flick as well. Because of this, many monster movie buffs consider this to be a continuation of the Universal monster cycle – a legitimate monster movie! I’m not sure I would agree, but the story does pick up where the older Universal films left off, with Dracula trying to control Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolfman trying to hunt them both down.

It seems that Bud and Lou were not real keen on the idea of this movie because it seemed like the focus would be on physical humor (it is) and not their trademark verbal routines like “Who’s On First?” However, this movie proved to be a real moneymaker for Universal International. It was the second cheapest film they produced that year and made the second highest profit! And so it spawned many other Abbot and Costello Meet… flicks that kept the box office cash flowing.

One classic deserves another…

Lindemans Gueuze

Brouwerij Lindemans, Vlezenbeek, Belgium

What the heck is gueuze? Gueuze is the traditional naturally fermented ale of Belgium. This is the style of beer that Belgians, usually housewives, have been brewing for centuries. Gueuze is the most basic form of lambic. No fruit, just water, grains, some hops and natural yeast.

ABV: 4.00% IBU: low

Color: A slightly cloudy tawny amber. The cloudy part comes from wheat proteins. Remember lambics are made with at least 30% wheat.

Aroma: Soft and rather subtle. There is a bit of the cider character lambics are known for as well as a slight fruit or floral component. The hops come through but not strongly. There is an interesting sort of musty scent in the background, this may be what I have read beer snobs refer to as “wet wool.” There is also a hint of spice.

Head: The white head is dense, foamy and persistent. It forms the uneven surface beer snobs call “rocky” and leaves the strands of foam on the side of the glass called “Belgian Lace.”

Taste: Very fruity cider like taste. Crisp and not very bitter at all. Slightly hoppy and spicy, rather like ginger beer but without the burn. The fruity start moves to a mellow smooth middle and leads to a slightly bitter finish with a short cider aftertaste.

Recommendation:

Lindemans Gueuze is a very refreshing beer. It would be perfect for those times when you do not want a heavy or very hoppy beer. Those who prefer less bitter beer will love it. It is refreshing enough to have at a summer picnic, but the cider taste would go down well in Autumn and I am willing to bet this would be great warmed and mulled during Christmas. Lindemans produces another winner! Highly recommended!

I feel that I have to mention that h&m (you know, my cohorts who referred to beer as tasting like cat piss) tried this beer and liked it. I rest my case.

Okey-dokey friends and neighbors! Another Halloween review in the bag! Catch ya next time.

-BigRuta

Remember: comments, questions, suggestions and requests always welcome.